Northern & Central Midwest

September, 2012
Regional Report

Get Ready for Lawn Planting

Fall is lawn planting time, so if your lawn needs renovation, a little assistance, or a complete replacement, get ready now. Order your grass seed or sod and make arrangements to have new topsoil brought in if needed. Get your tools ready for leveling, raking, and lightly rolling as soon as the seed is down.

Harvest Tomatoes to Prevent Sunburn

If your tomato plants are losing leaves due to disease, don't waste the fruits. Pick the tomatoes in whatever state of ripeness and let them ripen on the windowsill. Leaving them on a leafless vine will only allow them to sunburn and rot.

Leave Christmas Cactus Outside

Leave your Christmas cactus outdoors until the night temperatures drop to 40F. The cooler weather causes the plants to develop flower buds. As soon as the temperatures drop below 40F, move it indoors to a cool, bright spot. Keep it watered, but don't bring it into a warm room until after it blooms to prevent flower bud drop.

Bring In Houseplants

Start bringing in houseplants that have summered outdoors. Don't wait until the last minute before a frost is predicted to madly scramble about protecting plants. Check houseplants carefully for insects, and spray them with horticultural oil before bringing them in, if necessary.

Propagate Annuals for the Windowsill

Take tip and stem cuttings of tender perennials grown as annuals, such as geraniums, impatiens, coleus, and dusty miller, before your first frost. Cut a 4- to 6-inch stem piece, dip it in rooting hormone, and stick in a flat of sterile potting soil or vermiculite. Cover with clear plastic and wait for roots to form (usually a few weeks). When cuttings are well-rooted, pot them up and put in a bright spot out of direct sun.

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